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A guide to financial planning for university education with expert advice and investment strategies

Understanding University Costs in Singapore: Comparing Local and Private Institutions Fees

Last Updated on January 14, 2024 by Parentology

In Singapore, education holds significant importance, often culminating in obtaining a university degree, which has become almost a necessity in today’s world. However, are you fully prepared for the financial aspect of higher education in Singapore?

The cost of attending university varies across different institutions, but generally, it involves a substantial financial commitment, often running into tens of thousands of dollars. This financial burden can significantly impact your budget, especially considering the annual increase in university fees. Early planning is crucial. Gaining a clear understanding of these costs helps in better preparation.

Continue reading to learn about the potential expenses of university education in Singapore and explore the various funding options. This information is vital for families to begin their financial planning for this significant educational phase.


Local University Fees in Singapore: A Guide for Prospective Students

In Singapore, the preference for local universities is quite common, primarily for two reasons. Firstly, Singaporean employers often give higher recognition to degrees from local universities. Secondly, Singaporean students benefit from significantly lower tuition fees at these universities, thanks to subsidies like the MOE Tuition Grant.

This subsidy plays a crucial role for many Singaporeans, with the MOE Tuition Grant potentially reducing course fees by up to S$20,000 annually. However, it’s important to note that this grant is exclusively available for full-time undergraduate courses at Singapore’s six local universities: NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIT, and SUSS.

Tuition fees vary based on the university and the specific program. Below is a general overview of what Singaporean students can expect in terms of annual tuition fees at these institutions for the Academic Year 21/22:

University Course Type of Fees Tuition Fees (S$)
National University of Singapore (NUS) Business Annual fees 9,600
Dentistry Annual fees 29,300
Humanities and Sciences Annual fees 8,200
Full list of NUS course fees
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Business Annual fees 9,400
Communication Studies Annual fees 8,200
Medicine Annual fees 34,700
Full list of NTU course fees
Singapore Management University (SMU) Business Annual fees 11,450
Law Annual fees 12,650
Information Systems Annual fees 11,450
Full list of SMU course fees
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Architecture Annual fees 13,300
Design and AI Annual fees 13,300
Full list of SUTD course fees
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) Accountancy Full course (4 years) 33,440 (~8,350/year)
Marketing Full course (4 years) 30,000 (~7,500/year)
Full list of SUSS course fees
Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) Information and Communications Technology Full course (4 years) 30,000 (~7,500/year)
Computer Engineering Full course (3 years) 22,500 (~7,500/year)
Full list of SIT course fees


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Exploring Tuition Costs at Singapore’s Private Universities

In contrast to the subsidized fees at local universities, private institutions in Singapore typically charge higher tuition. These fees can differ significantly between schools, influenced by factors such as the specific degree provider and the chosen field of study. For those contemplating education abroad, the financial landscape changes notably. To illustrate, a year’s tuition at the University of Melbourne might reach as high as S$46,000.

Below is an overview of various programs and their associated fees at some of Singapore’s private universities:

University Course Full Course Fees (S$)
Kaplan (Murdoch University) Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Finance 27,290 – 27,600
Bachelor of Communication in Global Media and Communication and Marketing 29,320 – 29,440
Kaplan (Northumbria University) Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Business Management 22,360
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Mass Communication with Public Relations 22,360
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology (Clinical Psychology) 30,970
Kaplan (Royal Holloway, University of London) Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Management with Accounting 23,430
SIM Global Education (University of London) Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Accounting and Finance 23,000 – 33,900
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Banking and Finance 23,000 – 33,900
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computer Science (ML and AI) 40,900
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Data Science and Business Analytics 33,900
SIM Global Education (RMIT University) Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) 46,870
Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) 46,870
Bachelor of Business (Marketing) 46,870
SIM Global Education (University at Buffalo) Bachelor of Arts (Communication) 35,310 – 70,620
Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Economics) 60,030 – 80,630
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology) 60,030 – 80,630
Bachelor of Arts (Economics and International Trade) 60,030 – 80,630
James Cook University Bachelor of Business 56,490
Bachelor of Commerce 56,490
Bachelor of Psychological Science 59,060
MDIS (Leeds Beckett University) Bachelor of Science (Hons) Safety, Health and Environmental Management 33,170
MDIS (Northumbria University) Bachelor of Science (Hons) Biomedical Science 29,960 – 45,480
MDIS (University of Sunderland) Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Media, Culture and Communication 71,690
PSB Academy (Edith Cowan University) Bachelor of Science (Cyber Security) 25,680
PSB Academy (University Of Newcastle, Australia) Bachelor of Commerce 29,100 – 43,660
Bachelor of Information Technology 28,760 – 43,140
Bachelor of Communication 29,100 – 43,660

Additional Costs Beyond Tuition in University Education

While tuition is the primary expense at universities in Singapore, it’s crucial to remember there are other significant costs to consider. These extra expenses can accumulate, impacting the overall budget for your education. Here’s a breakdown of these additional costs:

  • Course Application Fees: Applying for university programs isn’t free. The application fee can be as low as S$10 at institutions like NUS, but at private universities, it may exceed S$100.
  • Course Materials: Expect to spend on essentials like laptops and textbooks, potentially reaching up to S$400 each semester. This cost can vary based on your course requirements. A bit of savvy, such as sourcing materials online, can help cut down expenses.
  • Administrative and Miscellaneous Fees: These cover various aspects like student programs, facilities, or insurance, typically amounting to several hundred dollars annually.
  • Exchange Programmes: Many local and some private universities offer opportunities to study abroad for a semester. If this interests you, be prepared for costs ranging from a few thousand dollars to over S$10,000, depending on your destination.
  • Accommodation: For those considering university hostels, the yearly cost ranges from S$2,800 to S$5,500 at NUS, and between S$3,180 and S$7,260 at NTU.
  • Daily Living Expenses: Don’t overlook day-to-day costs like transportation and meals, which can easily surpass S$1,000 per month.

These factors are essential to consider when budgeting for your or your child’s university education.


Financial Aid for University Studies in Singapore

Understanding the significant cost of university education in Singapore, it’s important not to let financial concerns deter you from pursuing your desired studies. Fortunately, there are several financial aid options available to alleviate some of these expenses.

  • Financial Aids and Bursaries: Your university’s financial aid office can be a great resource, as can bursaries from the government or non-profit organizations. These aids, typically based on income, don’t require repayment, although some might include a work bond.

Here are some notable bursaries and aids:

  • Higher Education Community Bursary: Previously known as the CDC/CCC-University Bursary, this aid offers up to S$6,200 annually to Singaporean students from low-income families.
  • Higher Education Bursary: Formerly the MOE Bursary, it’s available for Singaporean students from low to medium income families, providing up to S$3,200 per year.
  • The Ngee Ann Kongsi Tertiary Awards: Teochew students who meet certain financial and academic criteria can receive up to S$7,000.
  • Donated Bursaries and Grants: Many universities, including NUS, NTU, SMU, SIT, SUTD, and SIM GE, offer their own bursaries and grants, funded by faculties or external partners.

It’s advisable to start the financial aid application process early, especially if you’re considering multiple bursaries, as it can be time-consuming.



Scholarships and Education Loans for University in Singapore

Scholarships are a viable option to fund your university education, potentially covering a significant portion or even all of your tuition fees. Some scholarships also provide a monthly stipend and may cover costs for overseas exchanges. However, they often come with the requirement of a service bond with the sponsoring organization.

Here’s a look at some scholarship options:

  • Government Scholarships: These include the Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship, MOE Teaching Scholarship, and others from statutory boards like the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Economic Development Board (EDB).
  • University Scholarships: Offered by universities such as NUS, NTU, and PSB Academy.
  • Private Organization Scholarships: Examples include those from Raffles Medical Group and Keppel Group.

When it comes to Education Loans:

  • The MOE Tuition Fee Loan is an excellent choice for local university students. It covers up to 90% of tuition fees and is interest-free during your study period.
  • The CPF Education Loan Scheme allows you to use your parent’s CPF Ordinary Account savings to fund up to 100% of your university fees. Repayment begins one year after graduation and applies only to full-time, subsidized courses at specified institutions like NUS, NTU, SMU, SUSS, SUTD, Lasalle College of the Arts, and NAFA.

Additionally, consider the possibility of part-time work or taking a gap year to earn and save for university expenses.

Strategies for Parents: Preparing Financially for Your Child’s University Education

As a parent, starting to save early for your child’s university education is crucial. Consider using saving and investment products, , to effectively grow your child’s education fund.

While it’s natural to want the best for your child, including a quality education, it’s essential to balance this ambition with your retirement planning. Early financial planning helps you strike a balance between your child’s educational needs and your retirement goals. This foresight allows you to understand what is financially feasible and provides more time to achieve your objectives, whether it’s a comfortable retirement or supporting your child’s university journey.

In scenarios where you might have to choose between funding your child’s education and your retirement, it’s advisable to prioritize retirement. Numerous financial assistance options exist to support your child’s education, but the same can’t always be said for retirement funds. Additionally, by focusing on your retirement, you give your children the gift of independence, allowing them to focus on their future without the burden of your financial security.


Planning for University Education Costs

University expenses in Singapore are significant, but with proper planning, they don’t have to limit your choices. Start saving early, familiarize yourself with the costs involved, and make the most of available funding options. With these strategies, the financial burden of university education can become more manageable.

Discover how our savings and investment plans can help you prepare for university costs. If you’re a parent trying to balance your child’s educational needs with your retirement plans, our advisors are here to assist.

Whether it’s for your child’s university fund or balancing it with your retirement needs, we have the expertise to craft a plan that suits your goals. Don’t let financial uncertainties cloud your future.

Contact us today and take the first step towards a secure and well-planned educational and retirement journey.


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